Week 4: Portrait (Headshot)


Here’s Week 4 of the 52-week Photo Challenge. The challenge for week 4 is portrait; specifically, a headshot. For this one, I decided to continue with the low-key style. I just wanted to use the setup I did for the self-portrait. Well, I shot this first and then did the self-portrait but regardless, it was shot the same day. Sowmya was a great model. I took several photos in different angles and lighting. This one I thought was very impactful.


Week 3: Artistic Red


Here’s Week 3 of the 52 Week Photo Challenge. The Challenge for Week 3 is Artistic Red. Basically, the goal is to shoot whatever inspires you but red should be the focus of the image. For this challenge, I decided to use one of the photos that I took in Rajasthan. This book was taken back in 2013 when Sowmya and I went on a 10 plus day trip to Rajasthan and it was one of the best trips we have taken so far. We had a lot of fun.

I shot this photo of a doll with red dress in one of the Palaces (Jodhpur Palace, if I am not mistaken). I thought it would make a great shot. I took a couple of shots and this one turned out to be the one I (and Sowmya) liked the most. I decided to use this photo as I hadn’t processed it yet. As many would say, processing is what makes or breaks the photo. By the way, I hate post-processing but it’s something I need to improve drastically. If I do, my photos will be significantly better.

Week 2: Traditional Landscape


Here’s Week 2 of the 52-week Photo Challenge. The challenge for week 2 is Traditional Landscape. The goal was to shoot a beautiful landscape. I decided to go to Lake Elizabeth on Saturday as it’s beautiful and I wanted to hit 2 birds with one stone. No pun intended! I wanted to shoot birds and also shoot landscape. The last time Sowmya and I were in Lake Elizabeth, we had a great time. It was end of April last year. We saw and shot a lot of birds – Blue Heron, Night Heron, Juvenile Heron, Great Egret.

I don’t know if it was the time of the day or the time of the year, but we didn’t find any of the birds we saw last year. Well, we saw lot of Coots, ducks, and seagulls but not the birds that I really wanted to see. Sowmya and I decided to just walk and not worry about taking photos of the birds. I didn’t find any good spots for landscape photography either.

So, I decided to go to Hellyer County Park during the golden hour to try my luck at some HDR Photography. I thought about parking outside the park to avoid the $6 entrance fee but the area was a bit sketchy. I didn’t want to take a chance. Moreover, I didn’t want to walk with the Tripod. I went into the park and tried to pay for the entrance using my credit card and it didn’t work. Out comes this guy in his truck and tells me that he had some trouble with the machine as well. He suggested that I just go in as no one was checking for the ticket. I didn’t want to do that. So he decided to give his ticket to me as he’s going out anyway.

We went in and found the right spot. Sowmya started talking on the phone with first her brother and then her mom. I setup my tripod and started shooting some HDR shots.

Week 1: Self-Portrait


Here’s Week 1 of the 52-week Photo Challenge. The challenge for week 1 is self-portrait. One of the biggest challenges for me as a Photographer. I am much more comfortable behind the camera than I am in front of the camera. Standing in front of the camera is tough when someone else is taking the photo. I don’t know how to pose; in most cases (99%) of the time, I won’t smile if I am posing; I don’t know the right pose to stand,..you get the idea. When it comes to self-portrait, forget about it. I can’t see myself in the viewfinder so most attempts at self-portrait are bust.

I was experimenting with low-key lighting and the photos that I took of Sowmya turned out amazing; of course, it took a while to get to the right lighting. Then, she took a bunch of photos of me. To be honest, some of the ones she took of me turned out great.

The 2016 – 52 Week Photo Challenge

A few months back Sowmya got me into Pinterest. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be beneficial to me at all but I wanted to give it a shot. I love the concept of Pinterest and the content is very useful. For instance, a long time back Sowmya decided to make one of our bedroom and our common bathroom into a beach theme. I loved the idea but we didn’t do much. Once I got into Pinterest, I found a lot of cool DIY ideas and we now have an awesome beach themed bedroom and bathroom. What we are going to do about the other guest bedroom is not sure but I am sure we’ll find something. We do have an idea for our Master Bedroom and the inspiration for that came from Pinterest.

Anyways, I have started using Pinterest regularly – to check out DIY ideas, road-trip ideas, travel suggestions, hiking trails, camping spots, books to read, and photography. While reviewing Pinterest today, came across this 30 day photo challenge. Basically, pick a theme for each day of the month and take a photo, process it, and post it. I loved the idea but not sure if I am ready for a daily photo challenge given my other priorities. From the 30 day photo challenge, there was a link to another pin for a 52 week photo challenge. The idea is to do one photo a week based on a pre-determined theme. I loved this as I’ll get to do some targeted photo shoots and it’s once a week, which is very manageable.

Unlike most other photography challenges that are just simple list of idea, this particular 52 week challenge apparently was designed to push the photographer’s skills to the next level. It looks like the list is going to be more challenging to complete than a simple 52 week photography challenge list. The best thing is that there is no specific start date for this challenge. Each photographer is on their own journey, and only competing with themselves from week to week. Although, if you wish to form a challenge group and compete with each other based on this, I am sure you can do that.

There are three categories in this 52 week photo challenge – Portrait, Landscape, and Artistic Impression.

This challenge was put together by Dogwood Photography and the author does encourage sharing work each week. He has setup hashtag (for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.), Facebook Group, Flickr Group. I am not sure if I’ll do this but who knows, maybe I will.

Here’s the link to the 2016 Photo Challenge: https://dogwood.photography/52weekchallenge.html

Here’s the 52 week challenge:

WEEK 1 Portrait: Self Portrait Start things off right with a “selfie”! Explore the self timer setting on your camera.
WEEK 2 Landscape: Traditional Landscape Shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world. Find a nice foreground and don’t forget the sky.
WEEK 3 Artistic: Red Shoot whatever inspires you. Red should be the focus of the image. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
WEEK 4 Portrait: Headshot You shot a selfie, now shoot a “selfie” of someone else!
WEEK 5 Landscape: Black and White Look for a scene with great contrast that will make a great black and white.
WEEK 6 Artistic: Candy Your artistic interpretation this week should be inspired by something sweet. A great chance to play with macro photography.
WEEK 7 Portrait: Faceless Tell someone’s story without showing their face.
WEEK 8 Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama This is a great opportunity to explore panorama stitching and create a wide sweeping landscape.
WEEK 9 Artistic: Shadows The opposite of light is dark, the absence of light is shadow. Interpret this into a masterpiece.
WEEK 10 Portrait: Environmental Show a subject in their natural habitat. Their place of work or hobby is a great start. Tell their story with the environment
WEEK 11 Landscape: Reflection Find a way to show your landscape/natural beauty in reflection. The mirror world revealed.
WEEK 12 Artistic: Transportation Our world is one defined by how we get around. Literal or interpretative, find inspiration in transportation.
WEEK 13 Portrait: High Key Expose to the right and create a light, airy high key portrait.
WEEK 14 Landscape: Zoomed in Most landscapes are wide sweeping images. Try an alternative and zoom in instead.
WEEK 15 Artistic: Metal Cold, hard steel. Shiny Aluminum. Or even rusted and broken down. Find your inspiration in metal this week.
WEEK 16 Portrait: Movement Most portraits are stationary, so this week explore adding some movement. Dancing, twirling, or even hair flips.
WEEK 17 Landscape: Urbanscape Most Landscapes are wide open spaces of natural beauty… this week find the beauty of the urbanscape/cityscape.
WEEK 18 Artistic: Texture The artistic inspiration this week is texture. You should almost be able to feel the image.
WEEK 19 Portrait: Messy Take an amazing portrait of someone, make a mess while you are doing it.
WEEK 20 Landscape: Nightowl A tripod is going to be handy this week… time to shoot a night landscape. Look for some light for the scene! Car lights, city lights, or maybe just moonlight.
WEEK 21 Artistic: Fantasy Is this real life, or is this just fantasy… Your artistic inspiration this week is fantasy.
WEEK 22 Portrait: Hands Usually the face is the strongest element in the frame; with the hands being second. Make the hands the most important element in your image this week.
WEEK 23 Landscape: Weather This week should be as unpredictable as the weather! Feature the weather in this week’s landscape.
WEEK 24 Artistic: Sparkle! Shoot what inspires you this week, just make sure it sparkles.
WEEK 25 Portrait: Silhouette Expose for the background and let your subject fall into shadow. Shape is important this week.
WEEK 26 Landscape: Simplify Simply the scene to make your primary subject stand out.
WEEK 27 Artistic: Blue You were inspired by the fiery red earlier, now be inspired by calming blue.
WEEK 28 Portrait: Family Whether it’s the family you are born with or the one you choose, show the world what family is to you.
WEEK 29 Landscape: Waterscape Ocean, lake, river, pond, or puddle. Make water the primary subject of this landscape.
WEEK 30 Artistic: Patterns Get inspired by the rhythm that patterns bring to your images.
WEEK 31 Portrait: Street Candid Candids on the street, show us life in your town through the lens.
WEEK 32 Landscape: Colorful Shoot a landscape that packs as much color as you can find into the scene.
WEEK 33 Artistic: Collaboration Doesn’t matter what you shoot, just do with another artist. Share vision and ideas. Collaborate.
WEEK 34 Portrait: Child Candid or posed, capture an image of a child. Try getting down on their level for a unique perspective.
WEEK 35 Landscape: Nature up Close Get up close and personal with nature in this natural beauty shot. Flowers, bees, bugs and spiders might all make great shots
WEEK 36 Artistic: Food Take your food photography to the next level. Its not lunch, its art.
WEEK 37 Portrait: Fashion Avant-garde to commercial to traditional, and everything in between. The focus is the clothes this week.
WEEK 38 Landscape: Get Low Time to look at the world from a different angle. Shoot a landscape from a low point of view.
WEEK 39 Art: Handmade Your artistic interpretation should be inspired by another artisan’s handmade work. Literal or interpreted.
WEEK 40 Portrait: Sitting in a Chair Either a formal sitting portrait or a re-interpretation of this classic. Photography your subject sitting in a chair.
WEEK 41 Landscape: Get High Everything looks different when you are high. Find a high perspective to shoot this landscape.
WEEK 42 Artistic: Minimalist Isolate your subject using the minimalist approach. Inspire someone with your art.
WEEK 43 Portrait: The Elderly Tell the story of an elderly person through the power of your camera. Capture the lines of their life.
WEEK 44 Landscape: A Tree Some of the most famous landscapes in the world feature a tree. Time to see what you can do.
WEEK 45 Artistic: Nostalgic Use nostalgic as your inspiration this week. Long for the moments we want recapture. The good times.
WEEK 46 Portrait: Backlit The sun makes a great back light, as well as a flash. Don’t forget the fill light. A flash or reflector can be used to fill in the subject.
WEEK 47 Landscape: Abandoned Capture an image of that which others have forgotten. It may be the last image before its gone from us forever.
WEEK 48 Artistic: Bokeh A shallow depth of field is often used to isolate the subject. Create an artistic interpretation using shallow depth of field.
WEEK 49 Portrait: Dancing Whether it’s a professional dancer, or just some kids in the street. Try experimenting with slow and fast shutter speed to both blur and freeze the subject.
WEEK 50 Landscape: Symmetrical Often considered one of the hardest compositions to pull off, Symmetry. Challenge yourself this week by shooting a symmetrical landscape/urbanscape.
WEEK 51 Artistic: Art It is time to really challenge yourself. Your artistic interpretation should be art, about art. So meta.
WEEK 52 Portrait: Another Self Portrait For your final challenge, we end where we started. Take one last self-portrait, and be amazed at how far you have come in a year.

Hello, Welcome to my Photography Blog!

My name is Deepak Vedarthan and I am a Management Consultant living in the Bay Area. As a Consultant, I travel quite a bit throughout the US and Canada. Work keeps me quite busy, but I try to find time for my passions/hobbies.

You can find my portfolio at: https://500px.com/deepaksviewfinder

If you like my work, I’d love to hear from you, but more importantly, if you can critique my work, that will help me grow.

As Winston Churchill said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” So, please feel free to critique my work and help me learn, grow, and get better.

Photography has been my passion for a very long time. I have been Photographing different subjects over the course of last 8 years. I used to do a lot of Portrait Photography – Fashion/Glamor. Over the last 2 years, I have shifted my focus primarily to Landscape Photography. I also enjoy Wildlife Photography quite a bit. I am actively involved in Photography events to network with other professional in the industry and learn the ropes from experts. Through meetups and other events, I have met several Photographers in the Bay Area and have learned from them.

I strongly believe that as important as it is to have the ‘best’ equipment, it still lies in the hands of the Photographer to make the subject stand-out. For this reason, I believe that a Photographer should be artistic, experimental, and break the ‘rules’ where necessary, for stunning results.

As Aristotle once said, “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” I learn by doing! I go out and shoot as much as possible; I network with the ‘best-of-the-best’ and learn constantly.